Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ohio anti-fracking measure looks like it’s heading to ballot

Measure may face legal challenges
By David DeWitt
Photo Credits:
Photo Caption: This graphic, created by the Bill of Rights Committee, shows what would be the geographic range of a fracking ban if a number of area communities adopt an aquifer protection ordinance.

A group of local anti-fracking activists has announced that a proposed citizens initiative banning the controversial oil and gas drilling activity is heading to the ballot for citizens of the city of Athens this November.

But the Athens County Board of Elections has reported that a number of concerned citizens, including attorneys in town, have approached them questioning the propriety of a ballot initiative that seems to contradict Ohio Revised Code.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gangplank to a Warm Future

New York Times

Published: July 28, 2013

ITHACA, N.Y. — MANY concerned about climate change, including President Obama, have embraced hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. In his recent climate speech, the president went so far as to lump gas with renewables as “clean energy.”

As a longtime oil and gas engineer who helped develop shale fracking techniques for the Energy Department, I can assure you that this gas is not “clean.” Because of leaks of methane, the main component of natural gas, the gas extracted from shale deposits is not a “bridge” to a renewable energy future — it’s a gangplank to more warming and away from clean energy investments.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

'Nowheresville' USA gets rich quick from fracking...but at what cost?

JUST a decade ago most Americans would probably never have heard of Williston, a quiet agricultural town in North Dakota nestling close to the border with Canada.

A workman lines up a pipe while drilling in the Bakken shale formation
Now Williston is not only on President Obama’s radar but is under the microscope of the nation in its almost unique place at the heart of the fierce debate about the gas and oil drilling process known as fracking.
While the rest of America struggles with a lack of jobs and cities such as Detroit file for bankruptcy, unemployment in Williston is virtually zero.

More ...

Groundwater Contamination Higher Near North Texas Gas Wells

Texas Observer

by  Published on 

Brian Fontenot, who earned his Ph.D. in quantitative biology from UT Arlington, worked with Kevin Schug, UT Arlington associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and a team of researchers to analyze samples from 100 private water wells
Brian Fontenot, who earned his Ph.D. in quantitative biology from UT Arlington, worked with Kevin Schug, UT Arlington associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and a team of researchers to analyze samples from 100 private water wells
Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington have found elevated levels of arsenic and other heavy metals in private drinking water wells near natural gas wells in North Texas’ Barnett Shale. The scientists analyzed samples from 100 wells, both inside and outside of the Barnett Shale. Their results were published online today in Environmental Science & Technology.

Internal EPA report highlights disputes over fracking and well water

Los Angeles Times

An EPA staff report suggests methane from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, contaminated wells near Dimock, Pa., but the agency says the water's safe to drink.

Fracking near Dimock, Pa.
A natural gas fracking operation on leased farmland near Dimock, Pa. The EPA says water from most wells in the area is still safe to drink, but critics and an internal EPA report suggest that the drilling method is causing methane contamination. (Caroline Cole / Los Angeles Times / December 27, 2011)

WASHINGTON — One year ago, the Environmental Protection Agency finished testing drinking water in Dimock, Pa., after years of complaints by residents who suspected that nearby natural gas production had fouled their wells. The EPA said that for nearly all the 64 homes whose wells it sampled, the water was safe to drink.
Yet as the regulator moved to close its investigation, the staff at the mid-Atlantic EPA office in Philadelphia, which had been sampling the Dimock water, argued for continuing the assessment.
In an internal EPA PowerPoint presentation obtained by the Tribune/Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau, staff members warned their superiors that several wells had been contaminated with methane and substances such as manganese and arsenic, most likely because of local natural gas production.

Fracking can happen to any of us

Guest opinion

By Rep. Jared Polis

For more than a decade now, I have had a small farm and weekend escape near Berthoud, north of Longmont. I really enjoyed having a quiet, private place with pristine acreage about 40 minutes from Boulder. I have grown alfalfa, tomatoes and corn, and I have even raised bees for six years, giving the honey to friends and colleagues every holiday season.

Our beautiful country house, with a pond inhabited by turtles and frogs, is a peaceful place for our family. Our two-year old son runs joyfully through the fields and "turtle" was one of his first words. A majestic crane visits us every year and nests near the pond. My Berthoud home in unincorporated Weld County has been part of our family's Colorado dream.

Jared Polis represents the 2nd Congressional District. including most of Boulder County, in the United States Congress.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ballot initiative to ban fracking garners enough signatures to move forward


Measure would ban oil and gas extraction in Lafayette, CO could invite lawsuit
Posted:   07/26/2013 01:46:16 PM MDT
Updated:   07/26/2013 06:16:05 PM MDT

Oil and gas opponents in Lafayette have collected enough valid signatures to put a fracking ban in front of voters on the November ballot, the city confirmed Friday.

Contact Camera Staff Writer John Aguilar at 303-473-1389, or

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pollution worries abound in frac sand waste streams

Article by: TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune Updated: July 13, 2013 - 6:38 AM

In Wisconsin, frac-sand mines in Trempealeau, Buffalo and Barron counties are creating unstable piles of sand waste and illicit wastewater runoff.

In Minnesota, state health officials are studying two chemicals widely used in frac-sand processing as contaminants of “emerging concern.”

More ...

Tony Kennedy • 612-673-4213

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fracking industry cleanup workers exposed to benzene in Colorado, feds allege


Parachute Creek, Colorado
Parachute Creek

By John Upton

We told you about the drawn-out spill of 241 barrels of natural gas liquids earlier this year at a Williams Energy plant that handles fracked gas in Colorado. It turns out that Parachute Creek and its wildlife weren’t the only things exposed to cancer-causing benzene because of the accident.

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles toFacebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fracking Wastewater Disposal Linked to Remotely Triggered Quakes

An fracturing oil rig in Garfield County.
Photograph by Lynn Johnson, National Geographic
Water impoundments like this one beside a Colorado oil rig are typical at hydraulic fracturing sites. Underground disposal of the wastewater after fracking may increase seismic risks from remote earthquakes, a new study says.

Fracking for oil and natural gas, and the underground disposal of wastewater that occurs in the process, has been linked to earthquakes in recent years. Now seismologists have discovered a new twist in that relationship, finding that wastewater injection can also contribute to temblors induced remotely by faraway seismic events.

EPA to Allow Consumption of Toxic Fracking Wastewater by Wildlife and Livestock

New Mexico Coalition for Community Rights

Millions of gallons of water laced with toxic chemicals from oil and gas drilling rigs are pumped for consumption by wildlife and livestock with the formal approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to public comments filed yesterday by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Contrary to its own regulations, EPA is issuing permits for surface application of drilling wastewater without even identifying the chemicals in fluids used for hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, let alone setting effluent limits for the contaminants contained within them.

Photo credit: J Henry Fair / LightHawk